Getting or even staying fit is hard, there’s no doubt about it. It’s that difficulty that makes it all worthwhile. Achieving your own fitness battle is as much a physical tussle, as it is a mental one. We live and die by our beliefs. If you believe you can do it, you’re right. If you believe you can’t, you’re also right. Which would you rather be?
We can probably all agree that life is hard enough. Trying to fit in work, family, friends, social obligations, not to mention dealing with money and countless other drains on your time is difficult. That’s without trying to squeeze exercise into an already packed calendar. You could be forgiven for jettisoning your training when it gets like that, but I don’t think you need to. There are ways you can keep training and making progress and still remain focussed on your own goals.
Part of winning the mental and physical challenges is to accept that life is tough and knowing you have to adapt to the game before you can win it. Let’s take a look at 10 ways you can keep your training on track and achieve your goals, but before that, let’s take a little look at confidence.
You + Confidence = Results
The thing that separates those who put the work in and those that don’t, is the work itself. Having a confidence in yourself doesn’t come about just because you look in the mirror and tell yourself that you’re awesome. True confidence is a genuine belief that you are great.
Confidence isn’t just about one aspect of your life, it comes from a collective set of confidences that we hold about different areas of our lives. You might be incredibly confident at work, but not so when it comes to how you look.
If you’re unconvinced, try this 3-step process.
- Determine the area of your life that’s causing you the problem.
- Find the missing skills. Find out what’s missing from those areas of your life that mean your confidence in that area isn’t as high as it could be. If, for example, you’re not confident about your body image, set about making sure you understand what you need to eat (and why) and how you need to train. Once you know, it’s time to develop them. By learning why you eat what you do and how it impacts on your results, the more confident you’ll become.
- Wait for your subconscious mind to catch-up. You’ll get these missing skills long before your confidence arrives. Your subconscious needs to observe you doing them before it trusts them enough. Confidence doesn’t come overnight, so concentrate on those missing skills, build trust in yourself and feel your confidence grow from within.
1. Set Precise Goals
Setting a goal for yourself is nothing new. You do it every day to some degree. You set a goal of getting up at the right time, so you’re not late for work and fitness is no different. Small goals lead to big success.
Everything in your training life can become a goal, but they need to be specific; getting your gym bag ready, going to the gym, the number of sets and reps you’re going to do when you get there. All of them are simple goals, but very achievable.
Make a list of all of these small goals and tick them off as you complete them. They don’t have to be big, but they do have to be specific. Each and every one you do is a win and you’ll feel great.
2. Keep Your Goals Realistic
It’s worth noting that when you’re setting your goals, they have to be realistic. I guess another word for it would be achievable. There’s no point in setting goals for yourself that are simply unobtainable. I’m sure we’d all like to lose 5 stone in a week or go from being an 8-stone weakling to becoming Mr. Universe over a Bank Holiday weekend, but it’s never going to happen.
By setting goals that you can realistically achieve, you will stop yourself getting disheartened and keep your motivation high.
3. Find A Reason To Train
Once you’ve set your realistic, small, but achievable goals, it’s time to think about the reasons behind them. There is no right or wrong reason to train and everyone will have their own motivations but it’s important you can picture it in your mind’s eye.
What you’re looking for is that ‘thing’ that’s personal to you and is going to drive you on when all you want to do is quit. It’s that something that makes you lift that last rep when you’re aching to stop. The reason will be different for you than it is for me, but it’s important you need to find it, you’re going to need it.
4. Make The Time
As I said earlier, finding the time to train, between all the other things you have going on can be tough, but it’s also easier than you think, providing you tackle it in a different way.
You would think nothing of blocking out time in your calendar for meetings at work or when you need to pick-up the kids from a playdate. Training should be no different. When you train, that’s ‘you’ time. It’s no less important than all the hours you spend at work or with the family.
Make the time to schedule training sessions, but it can go one step further. Also consider blocking out time for your food shopping and preparation. When you can see it scheduled in, you’re less likely to consider missing it.
5. Go Public
Training can be a very lonely experience, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With the influx of social media, you need never train alone again.
By bringing in Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, whether that’s a connection between family, friends or complete strangers, you can keep yourself motivated and maybe even inspire others.
Share with them what you’re trying to do and keep them informed of your progress. This sharing will keep your enthusiasm on a high and people will become genuinely interested in how you’re doing. Share pictures of your developing physique and even the delicious meals you’re eating and well you’re on your way. #TeamKingsbury is waiting for you.
6. Find A Training Buddy
If you prefer a training partner that’s a little less ‘virtual’, then try and get a training buddy to help you along. Having a training partner will encourage you to exercise and help you stick to your goals.
Making plans to meet at the gym means you’re less likely to cancel and therefore more likely to go. You can also challenge each other on a regular basis, especially when you can’t synchronise your times.
Having that accountability if a very strong motivator. If none of your friends can help you, try asking around the gym you go to or the local community. There’s bound to be someone in the same boat as you willing to share the journey.
7. Build Momentum
When time is tight or the gym isn’t possible, there are ways to ensure you don’t lose momentum. You don’t have to be at the gym to be working out. You could, for example, take the stairs instead of the lift, get off the bus or tube a stop earlier than normal or go for a walk at lunchtime instead of sitting at your desk. There are so many little things you can do throughout the day that will really help keep you going.
Don’t think of it as ‘exercise’, think about it as ‘movement’. All those movements will help you get where you’re going much faster.
8. Rest. Recover. Repeat.
We’ve all had that aching feel after a hard workout. You feel like you can barely walk. This ailment is one of the most common reasons that people give for skipping their workout. It’s obviously going to be mentally tougher to go to the gym if you’re still sore from the last time you went.
A big part of training is allowing time for recovery. It’s the recovery that makes your muscles grow and your fitness improve. Don’t just concentrate on the sets and reps you do at the gym, also include foam rolling or stretching as part of your warm-up and warm-down routine. This will limit your aches and pains and ensure you’re raring to go next time.
9. Mix It Up
We all know that fitness is a long-term project, as much as we’d like it not to be. Over time it’s natural that you’re going to get a little bored of doing the same exercises time and time again. When you start to feel that way, don’t give in to it….mix it up!
Your body needs as much variety to stay focussed as your mind does. Look around the gym and utilise equipment you might not normally use. Things like TRX bands are great, but you can go a step further. Train outside (if the weather allows) or try a fitness class. Anything that will give you some fresh impetus and relive the boredom.
For all these things that are designed to help you stick to your training plan, the one thing you don’t want is to go backwards. Forward doesn’t always have to be a huge leap, even the smallest steps are still going in the right direction. The key to this is consistency.
If you’d like to go to the gym 5 times a week, but can only realistically manage 2 or 3, that’s fine. Don’t beat yourself up over it, just concentrate on consistency for the sessions you can do and do your absolute best while you’re there.
I hope you find at least one of these things useful. One of my targets for this year is to help even more people achieve their fitness goals. My mindset is fully focussed on doing this and I won’t quit until I reach my target.
I’m not talking about the number of sign-ups, I am talking about the number of real, life-changing transformations. If you feel like you could be one of these people, if you know you can do it with the right guidance, then I am so focussed on helping you.
Time is precious when you’re focussed on achieving something, so remember, every day counts.